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Metro NY Minute -- April 2010

News From the District
Worth Repeating

Registration and housing reservations are  open for General Assembly. This year's Opening Celebration and Banner Parade will feature UU singer-songwriter Peter Mayer. The Ware Lecturer is Winona LaDuke, renowned Native American activist working on issues of sustainable development. Rev. Galen Guengenrich, minister at the Unitarian Church of All Souls (Manhattan), will follow up last year's popular UU University track, Theology for a Secular Age, with a new eight-part workshop series, The Necessity of Virtue. Over 300 workshops, lectures, and worship opportunities are planned. Advance registration closes June 11. After May 15, hotel rooms and the group rate are subject to availability.
Do you have a short video to share at General Assembly? The General Assembly Video Project invites you to submit your video by May 14. The best submissions will be chosen for viewing at the Plenary Sessions. Videos under 120 seconds will be considered. Possible topics include, among others: invitation or message out Unitarian Universalism or a specific congregation, personal testimonial, spiritual or theological message, lay leadership development, stewardship, social justice, anti-racism or multi-culturalism, religious education, children's, youth's, or young adult's faith expression. Be creative and share your talent! For more information, click here . To submit a video, click here. 
The St. Lawrence District is sponsoring a UU Leadership Team Institute retreat July 25-28 at Notre Dame Retreat House in Canandaigua Lake NY for congregational leaders in the four districts comprising the CenEast Regional Group -- Metro NY District, Ohio-Meadville District, Joseph Priestly District, and St. Lawrence District. Registration is $285 before May 15, $305 after May 15. For a flyer, click here . For more information, contact Jan Gartner.
Universalist Convocation 2010 will be held May 14-16 at the First Universalist Society of Rochester (NY), featuring keynote speaker the Rev. Mark Morrison-Reed. Universalist Convocations is an Independent Affiliate Organization of the UUA.

More Good Stuff to Check Out!
Worship Service Providers available to District congregations
RE-Sources for religious education leaders
Job opportunities around the District
InterConnections for lay leaders
Congregational Bulletin, UUA monthly email, the UUA online magazine
Small Talk newsletter for UU congregations
Register today for the 2010 District Annual Meeting held April 30-May 1 at the Hyatt Morristown (NJ)! Congregation presidents are especially encouraged to attend and are offered a registration discount. The Annual Meeting will feature the Rev. Burton Carley as keynote speaker on Saturday and Olympia's Daughters as special guests on Friday evening. Rev. Carley is Senior Minister at the First Unitarian Church of Memphis, a former member of the UUA Board of Trustees, and the 2005 Berry Street Essayist. Olympia's Daughters is an outstanding  women's a cappella ensemble. Online registration closes April 23. Hotel reservations must be made by April 15 to receive the group rate.
UU Leadership Team Institute By the Sea, hosted by the Joseph Priestly District and the Metro NY District and scheduled for August 26-August 29 at the Ocean Grove NJ Retreat Center, is a residential learning experience for congregational leadership teams to equip them with practical tools and powerful ideas that can transform their congregations. For more information, contact Doug Zelinski.
The Margaret Fuller Bicentennial Committee (MFBC) is offering a one-of-a-kind weekend tour -- "Follow the Footsteps of Margaret Fuller in Boston, Cambridge, and Concord" -- during the height of the fall foliage season October 1-3. Laurie James, co-chair of the District Women and Religion Committee, is MFBC project director. Read more . Events celebrating Fuller's 200th birthday on May 23 are scheduled nationwide by a variety of groups. Read more.
Religious educators are invited to attend a Multicultural Renaissance Module May 18-20 at the Murray Grove Retreat and Conference Center, Lanoka Harbor NJ. For a flyer, click here . To register, click here. For more information, contact Andrea Lerner.

News From the UUA 
The 40/40/40 campaign marks the 40th anniversary of Earth Day by inviting congregations to gather 40 members who will each commit to making a change in daily habits for 40 days to benefit environmental justice. The campaign runs April 18-May 27. The primary organizer of the event is the Ethical Eating: Food and Environmental Justice core team responsible for guiding congregations through four years of study on ethical eating, a congregational study/action issue adopted by 2008 General Assembly delegates. Read more in
The Washington Office for Advocacy will be eliminated at the end of June as part of the cost-saving reorganization announced in March by UUA President Rev. Peter Morales. The Advocacy and Witness staff group, of which the Washington Office for Advocacy was a part, will merge with the Identity-Based Ministries staff group. Read more.
InterConnections, the UUA's monthly newsletter for congregational leaders, now has a Facebook page. Visitors to the page not only can read new articles and blogs but make comments on them or offer suggestions for articles.
The first two episodes of A Religion For Our Time, a series of short videos highlighting inspiring work in UU congregations, are now available. Episode One features a drop-in program for bisexual, gay, lesbian, and transgender youth and young adults created by the UU Church of Ogden (UT). Episode Two features three remote Washington State congregations that created the Living Tradition Institute of the West Puget Sound.
The Leadership Training Camp , August 1-6 at the Mountain Retreat and Learning Center in Highlands NC, is an opportunity for pairs of youth and adults to learn interfaith leadership skills. Registration, lodging, and meals are paid by the UUA. The application deadline is May 1.
The Youth Project Grant Program supports local youth-led projects that give UU youth an opportunity to grow in faith, develop skills, and provide leadership and service to UU communities. Grants are awarded to pairs of youth and adults sponsored by a congregation, the District, or a UU-related organization.
Social Justice Toolkits are being prepared by the Washington Office for Advocacy, including talking points, a script for calling members of Congress, a sample letter for writing members of Congress, tips on advocacy, worship materials, and more. Toolkits on Conmprehensive Immigration Reform and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act are available now. Additional Toolkits will be available in the coming few months.
The UUA has several financing options for congregations looking to acquire land, build a spiritual home, or make improvements to their existing facilities. For more information, click here.
The UUA Directory will continue to be available online through a searchable database but will no longer be available in a downloadable print format, beginning with the 2011 Directory

News From Congregations

Milestones and Transitions

Greg Giacobe began serving the First UU Church of Essex County (Orange NJ) as its new part-time Administrator on February 1. A member of the church since 2001, Greg served as board secretary from 2003-09, as well as in numerous other capacities.

The Rev. Tracy Sprowls-Jenks will be installed as Minister by the First Unitarian Society of Plainfield on April 18 at 5:00pm.
Julia Hamilton will be ordained by the Fourth Universalist Society (Manhattan) and the Unitarian Church in Summit (NJ) at the Fourth Universalist Society on April 25 at 4:00pm.
The UU Ocean County Congregation (Toms River NJ) held its inaugural service on April 4 at its first permanent home, 734 Route 37 W in Toms River. Since mid-2007, the congregation has rented space from the United Church of Christ and, for seven years prior, met at the Murray Grove Retreat and Conference Center in Lanoka Harbor. Rev. Craig Hirshberg led the service. Said congregation president Bonney Parker (pictured), "At last our congregation will have a site that will be visible and available to all who seek a place of worship that welcomes all, no matter who they are, what language they speak, what color their skin, or whom they love." Read more .
The UU Fellowship of Bellport (NY) will hold its final service on April 11 in its current facility at 51 Browns Lane, the congregation's home for more than half a century. The congregation will meet in a rented space until it finds a new permanent home.
The UU Congregation of Somerset Hills (Somerville/North Branch NJ) (UUCSH) may be acquiring its own church building, currently owned by the First Church of Christ Scientist in Somerville. Since it began in 1997, the UUCSH has been gathering for Sunday services at the Raritan Valley Community College but would like a more worshipful place to meet. Read more.
The Morristown (NJ) Unitarian Fellowship has been formally welcomed by the UUA as the first congregation to engage in Green Sanctuary re-accreditation candidacy. The UUA stated it was "impressed with plans for continued earth stewardship" and described the congregation's action plan as "diverse, well-balanced, and exciting." The plan included a service by the Rev. Alison Miller on the 7th Principle and a showing of a safe lawn care film.

The UU Church at Washington Crossing (Titusville NJ) was certified in March by the UUA as a Green Sanctuary congregation. The church is planning a special recognition ceremony at its Sunday services April 18. Seven other District congregations are Green Sanctuary congregations, those in Lincroft NJ, Manhasset NY, Manhattan (Community Church), Morristown NJ, Newton NJ, Stony Brook NY, and Westport CT.

The Full Living and Learning UU Society is being formed to provide religiously based service and support with a particular emphasis on individuals who might have difficulty fitting in to traditional faith-based communities due to behavioral issues. Parents of individuals with disabilities, those with disabilities themselves, and clinicians and educators have formed a group and applied to the UUA for emerging congregation status. Read more .
The First Unitarian Congregational Society in Brooklyn (NY) will hold on April 17 its annual spring auction, which raises as much as $10,000 for the congregation's general fund. The highlight is tickets to dinners in members' homes, affording an opportunity for participants to come together in small groups and make new friends.
The UU Society in Stamford (CT) Sacred Circle Pagan Group hosted the well-attended arts and crafts night, inviting participants to create their own spiritboards and inscribe them with personal symbols. Used with a pendulum, a spiritboard is an ancient form of divination dating back at least 5000 years.

Latifa Woodhouse, member of the UU Congregation at Shelter Rock (Manhasset NY), will be interviewed on broadcasts of public access television (channel 20 in Great Neck and Manhasset and channel 37, Verizon) airing throughout April on Saturdays at 4:00pm, Tuesdays at 6:00pm, and Wednesdays at 7:30pm (April 21 at 7:00pm). The broadcasts will highlight Latifa's experience growing up in Kandahar and a discussion of US policies toward Afghanistan.

The UU Congregation at Montclair (NJ) is revamping its religious education program and sought input from the great Montclair community. The Rev. Judy Tomlinson, Minister of Religious Education, hosted forums on March 28 to gain insight into how to tailor adult program offerings to meet the needs of congregational and community members. "The point of our religious education program is to deepen a person's spirituality as they learn about a variety of things," said Rev. Tomlinson. Read more.

Other Noteworthy Items

The UU Service Committee (UUSC) board of trustees has appointed the Rev. Dr. William Schulz to serve as interim president and CEO while the UUSC searches for a permanent replacement for former president Charlie Clements. Schulz is former executive director of Amnesty International USA and former president of the UUA. Read more.
The UU Ministry For Earth (UUMFE)  is asking UU congregation members to think about what they eat and what food choices are available in their communities, as part of Earth Day April 22. UUFME encourages congregations to register their Earth Day event and email photos and event descriptions to For Earth Day resources, click here.
The Ohio-Meadville District Summer Institute, July 11-July 17 at Kenyon College, Gambier OH, includes workshops that focus on lay theological education and are sponsored in part by the UU Leadership Team Institute (UULTI). More than 600 UUs are expected to attend this year's Summer Institute. Registration begins April 15.
Enable Inc is partnering with the UU Congregation of Princeton (NJ) to sponsor Enabling Faith: Honoring Our Disabilities, Finding a Spiritual Community -- a conference on April 19-20 in Lawrenceville NJ designed to help increase the connections among persons with disabilities, their families, and faith-based congregations. Enable Inc is an organization providing services, support, and housing to individuals with disabilities throughout New Jersey. For a conference brochure and registration form, click here . For more online information, click here.
The Church of the Larger Fellowship (CLF) announced that the Rev. Meg Riley accepted the call from the CLF board of directors to be the new CLF Senior Minister. Rev. Riley is currently UUA Director for Advocacy and Witness and will begin her ministry at the CLF in August. Read more.
The Church of the Larger Fellowship offers online UU courses, many of which are free and some cost $40. For a summary of course offerings, click here , or visit
The Spring 2010 newsletter  of the International Convocation of UU Women (ICUUW) is now available, including news about the ICUUW at the 2010 General Assembly, an opportunity for a trip to India endorsed by the ICUUW board of trustees, and four new program initiatives.
The 2010 Minns Lecture Series will be given by the Rev. Dr. Paul Johnson, Senior Minister at the UU Congregation at Shelter Rock (Manhasset NY). Rev. Johnson's lectures will focus on James Freeman Clark, a transcendentalist, social reformer, and early scholar of world religions.
The First UU Church in Austin (TX) offers materials for a course in UU history -- suitable for four sessions, each an hour and a half long -- to interested congregations. For more information, contact John Keohane

Upcoming Workshops and Meeting
Visit the District's Calendar and Events page for these and other events:
bullet Building Healthy Congregations: April 10, First Unitarian Society of Rockland County (Pomona NY). For more information, contact Doug Zelinski.
Long Island Leadership Institute Final Session: April 17, UU Congregation at Shelter Rock (Manhasset NY). For more information, contact Doug Zelinski.
bullet Junior Youth Con: April 17-18, Morristown (NJ) Unitarian Fellowship. For a flyer, click here . For a letter to DREs, click here . To register, click here. For more information, contact Peter Green.
bullet 2010 District Annual Meeting: April 30-May 1, Hyatt Morristown (NJ). For more information, contact Laurie Golson.
bullet Building Healthy Congregations: May 8, UU Church of Staten Island (NY). For more information, contact Doug Zelinski.
bullet 11th Annual Anti-Racism Conclave: May 15, Community Church of New York UU (Manhattan). For more information, contact the Rev. Michael Tino.
Multicultural Renaissance Module: May 18-20, Murray Grove Retreat and Conference Center, Lanoka Harbor NJ. For a flyer, click here . To register, click here. For more information, contact Andrea Lerner.
Spring Revival: May 21-22, Fourth Universalist Society (Manhattan). For more information, contact Rev. Julie Taylor.
bullet Youth Social Con: May 21-23, UU Congregation of Danbury (CT). For more information, contact Katie Parker.
bullet Youth Bridging Mini-Con: June 12, Central Unitarian Church (Paramus NJ). For more information, contact Katie Parker.
bullet Building Healthy Congregations: June 12, Fourth Unitarian Society of Westchester (Mohegan Lake NY). For more information, contact Doug Zelinski.
bullet Liberal Religious Educators Association District Chapter Retreat: June 13-16, Ocean Grove NJ. For more information, contact John Cavallero.
bullet Star Island Lifespan Religious Education Conference: July 11-17, Star Island off the coast of Portsmouth NH.
bullet UU Mid-Atlantic Community: July 18-24, DeSales University in Center Valley PA. For a flyer, click here . For a brochure and registration form, click here . For more information, contact Jo Paoletti.

Guided by our living faith, the Unitarian Universalist District of Metropolitan New York exists to be a source of connection and transformation for our congregations and our larger world.